Anthony Davis Lakers: Pelicans Owner Would Trade Star to L.A. “Over My Dead Body”

Getty NEW ORLEANS, LA - NOVEMBER 18: Owner Gayle Benson of the New Orleans Saints waves to the crowd before a game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on November 18, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Saints defeated the Eagles 48-7. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

The aftermath of New Orlean’s shocking leap to the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft has escalated the trade conversations regarding star center Anthony Davis. With the top pick almost undoubtedly going to Zion Williamson, Pelicans president David Griffin is shopping Davis around to surround Williamson with players that actually want to be in New Orleans.

According to Dan Feldman at NBC Sports, Pelicans owner Gayle Benson has eliminated one possibility entirely: the Los Angeles Lakers. Feldman quotes Jackie McMullan of ESPN:

“We have been told, I think, through channels – most of us have heard this same scuttlebutt – that Gayle Benson has basically told (Griffin), “To the Lakers, over my dead body.”

For what it’s worth, Benson laughed off the reports, calling them “completely untrue.”

As Feldman notes, this crosses out the possibility of New Orleans receiving the young core of Lakers such as Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball and/or Brandon Ingram. Griffin has shown great interest in a trade, particularly for Ingram, even before he signed on as president.

Here’s the latest on potential future destinations for Davis.

Anthony Davis Trade Reports & Rumors

Tom Westerholm of MassLive wrote Friday that Boston is the “most obvious” trade partner for the Pelicans. He quotes the Boston Herald’s Steve Bulpett:

“If such is the case, sources (in Chicago) told the Herald the Pelicans will reach out to the Celtics as the most obvious trade partner. The Celts may still not be sure about a deal because it’s not known yet what the Pels will want in return for the All-Star, but there seems to be a belief that they’d be able to work things out.”

Westerholm notes that obstacles such as the definitive future of Kyrie Irving needs to be sorted out before both sides are comfortable with the transaction.

For the Celtics, the hold-up is twofold: They want to know what Kyrie Irving is going to do as an unrestricted free agent, and they want to know what the Pelicans plan to request in exchange for Anthony Davis. New Orleans, meanwhile, hopes to keep Davis in town, pairing him with Zion Williamson. Davis reportedly is not interested in playing with an 18-year-old, even an 18-year-old as talented as Williamson, and still wants to move on.

Meanwhile, Marc Berman of the New York Post indicates that New York is hopeful there’s value in its No. 3 pick acquired earlier this week at the draft lottery.

The Knicks hope it “works out” by way of a trade. They have the third pick, which would be up for sale in any Davis package. The Post has reported since last season’s trade deadline passed that the Knicks would be willing to move their lottery pick for Davis. The Post has also reported their 2021 and 2023 first-round picks obtained from Dallas would also have to be placed into any Davis package.

There’s a disparity of confidence in these reports. The Celtics and Boston media feel like they are the favorites, as long as some obstacles are removed. The Knicks and the New York media are using words like “hope,” signalling that they are not exactly assured of their place in the negotiations.